An inauguration was held on Sunday June 26 to officially open a newly-renovated library and a research institute dedicated to expanding ecumenical knowledge and theology.
In 1946, two years before the World Council of Churches (WCC) was thought of, Dr Visser’t Hooft visualized a library where people could concentrate on ecumenical research, while keeping the ecumenical history and movement alive.
It first started out with Hooft’s vision, but was initiated by several hundred books and many documents located in a small conservatory.
The books eventually grew throughout the years to 7,000 volumes in 1949 to, presently 130,000 books, periodicals, in addition to thousands of unique archival documents, photos and videos, which cover an irreplaceable record of history on the ecumenical movement from the 19th century to the present day.
The library found its home in 1964 in a building owned by WCC in 1959, which was donated by Mrs. Jeanette Watson, in loving memory of her husband.
Since this time, the library received a generous donation from Banque Pichet & Cie, a well known institution, which allowed the ambitions to arise once more in creating a place of outstanding excellence for ecumenical and inter-religious studies.
The WCC library has improved by renovations, modernization, technologically updated resources, new ways of cataloguing, and establishing a new center.
This Ecumenical institute was meant for healing the nations and churches after world war two, stated Rev. Kobia, however, he proposed that to strengthen this institute by exploring the different aspects of faith, economy, and ecology.
"Through the concerted endeavors of faith and business leaders, it will be possible to build a more just, peaceful, harmonious and sustainable society," he said.
One notable director, Mr. Pierre Beffa, who joined the WCC librarians in 1966, set up a system where other worldwide theological libraries could be connected to the WCC main branch.
After officially opening this facility on Sunday, Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia said that one goal is to build understanding among people and religions of the world through the Council's new ecumenical research center.